Norwegian Air gets approval to fly to US
As Published by Melanie Zanona in the Hill
The Department of Transportation gave its tentative stamp of approval for Norwegian Air International to fly to the United States, drawing fierce opposition from industry and union groups but earning applause from travel advocates.
The announcement on Friday will tentatively allow Norwegian Air International, the Irish-flag subsidiary of Norwegian Air Shuttle, to fly to the U.S. after officials found no basis to reject its application.
Airline groups were also quick to slam the department’s announcement.
“We are extremely disappointed by the DOT’s intention to permit Norwegian Air International to fly to and from the United States because it is an affront to fair competition,” said Capt. Tim Canoll, president of the Air Line Pilots Association.
Edward Wytkind, president of the Transportation Trades Department, AFL-CIO, called the air carrier a “job-killing flag-of-convenience airline that perverts the transatlantic airline market and violates our nation’s aviation trade agreement with the European Union.”
But travel advocacy groups welcomed the decision, arguing that allowing Norwegian Air to expand to the U.S. would spur much-needed competition in the marketplace.
“The decision to tentatively allow Norwegian Air International flying rights to the U.S. is a welcome development in an aviation landscape that often appears increasingly anti-competitive and closed-off,’ said Jonathan Grella, executive vice president for public affairs at the U.S. Travel Association. “Finalizing this decision would be a pro-competition, pro-growth and pro-traveler move that will benefit flyers, workers and the U.S. economy.”
The DOT said the public comment period is now open through May 13, before it finalizes a decision.